Monday, November 7, 2016

Through the Looking Glass to See No Evil

I have been told I am wrong to be upset with Fr. Pavone by no less than the internet; that there is no difference whatsoever between we display on a crucifix, and Fr. Pavone's altar.

Arguing that Sacred art depicts realities, even ugly ones that God made redemptive like the martyring of Stephen, the Pieta and every image of the crucified Christ whereas displaying the naked crushed body of an infant to prove Abortion is ugly is to shock, I was told, this was a minor difference.

The difference between stone and flesh is easy to see unless one wills one's self to have a stony heart. However, I don't believe that anyone really thinks there isn't a difference between sacred art and an actual dead body.  

We would be horrified and rightly so, if someone took dead bodies to depict a scene from scripture and called it art.  We would be horrified and rightly so, if someone profaned sacred art.

Using the body of a child to make a political point, ignores the moral reality of what we are called to do as Catholics for the dead, and what he was called to do as a priest when entrusted with this child in particular's, body.  He gave a 45 minute lecture on abortion with a baby's remains exposed on what looks to be an altar. It is meant to look like an altar, even if it is not an altar.  Oddly enough, it is a warped version of what horrified everyone when Dr. Gosnell was arrested.  Displaying rather than properly caring for the remains, is inappropriate.

Someone said, "Well, what about open caskets and wakes?" Those incidents are grieving processes for those who mourn the loss of a loved one.  They aren't done as a stage for a political/moral platform.  They aren't done for a youtube video to stump for a candidate or a political position the day before an election and I won't defend it even if I agree, and I do, abortion takes a life, it is always wrong.

But again, I don't for a moment think people don't recognize a difference, I think people want to defend a priest they love, and a position they hold dear.

This child was discarded by his or her mother as thing, destroyed by an abortionist as a thing, and then (however temporarily), used by the priest, as an illustration of abortion.  People are NEVER things, and we can NEVER use them as such, without committing great harm to our own souls and those who find themselves agreeing, the end justifies the means.

What about relics? I've seen Saint Anthony's tongue.  I asked and did research, "Relics and incorruptible bodies are testaments to the saints." He was buried, and when they cannonized him, they dug him up (30 years after death), they found his tongue incorruptible.  This sign of santification, of holiness, led to the veneration of his tongue.  We need the relics of the saints, because we are physical beings.  We need to know the saints were flesh and blood, real, not esoteric philosophical constructs created by imaginative manipulative scribes or poets.  Pieces of the true cross, the Shroud of Turin, the Tilma, hairs of Saint Maximiliam Kolbe, these things bring us into touching distance with Our God, with the Blessed Mother, with saints.

I've already seen the next layer of the argument, "Some of these were not saints before they were made into relics."

I do not feel I must fend every argument to still state, this was not a good act.

This baby was to be buried.  The baby should have been treated as one would any other baby brought for Catholic burial.  In not treating this infant like any other infant one would bury, this was forgetting the moral underpinning of the Pro-life position, which is to treat every child, all children, regardless of age, developmental status or capacity, with absolute dignity.  Exposing any other child naked and deceased to the internet, would be unthinkable.   This child deserved the same dignity afforded any other child one would mourn.  Love this baby first, and let that be your testimony.

When we hate something, we sometimes get so zealous, we can become a parody of the very thing we hate.  In reference to Fr Pavone's wrong decision to place a child on the altar so as to highlight the evil of abortion, you cannot justify a bad action (which this was) to bring about a good (end of abortion).  This was an inappropriate witness as a priest and as a person who professes to be pro-life because it did not put the actual child's dignity first.

Far more compelling a witness to the dignity of life would be to give that child a name, to dress him or her, drape in a blanket, and give a mass for the child.  Open casket if he likes, and invite all to pray for the souls of this child's family.   There is a temptation, when we seek a political solution for a moral issue, to put the movement before individuals. It is an understandable temptation, when people feel frustrated or powerless, but that is a secondary failing of despair because things are not happening according to a fast enough schedule.

So please, pray for Fr. Pavone and for his Bishop who must counsel him and for all who might want to not see how this act is wrong and fails to properly witness to the world, all humans are made in God's image, and all should be treated at all stages of development, with dignity.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Marc A. Antonetti said...

Indeed, as some have, to suggest that a noble end justifies all means misses the entire point of the Gospel. To have Faith in God ultimately requires a detachment from the many evils of this world, and a patience with God's wisdom. This is not to say such evils must not be actively resisted, to the contrary, they must. But sometimes the wrong delivery can alienate the viewer from the cause. While the physical reality of abortion is brutal, it is not right to lose sight of the greater beauty that God calls us to, by employing all means of combatting that evil. We are more a people meant for the resurrection than the cross, despite the cross' necessity. That beauty will inspire more faith than the oft ugly reality that is the human condition, must not be forgotten, and the dignity of the life wrongly placed on display cannot be desecrated. Pray for Father Pavone, who may have momentarily lost his footing on what is the right path. Merciful mother of God, patroness of the unborn and the Americas, let us not become distractions in proclaiming your Son's message of Love. May we always be steadfast in doing what is right, and vigilant in resisting that what draws ourselves and others away from god's truth, but let us covey that message with love and compassion and let us not lose our Faith in God that we despair of seeing God's promises fulfilled in our, and His, time.

Cathy Chapman said...

The better response with that precious one's body would have been to have celebrated the funeral for a child. The funeral would be the proper grieving venue for the loss of precious lives. We should also grieve for the mother who had to make such a decision.

I've worked with women who made decisions to abort their child. One made the decision 70 years ago. Most of the women I worded with still anguished over their decision. Listening to their stories would let people know there is the loss of life of the child and the loss of a piece of the self of the mother.

I remember one woman who was yanked from the porch by her father. She held with all her might onto the column on the porch but he pulled her off and carried her kicking and screaming to the abortion clinic. The baby was his.

Another woman sobbed that, if she had to make the same decision again, she would still abort. The father turned out to be a vile and abusive man.

Another woman, who had had her 4th abortion, told me it was better to be forgiven for one mortal sin than to be in a continual state of mortal sin while on the pill. She did grieve for her children.

There are so many tragic stories. We absolutely have to find solutions to the reasons why women choose to abort. Solve those reasons and we will cut the abortion rate tremendously.

Love to you, Sherry and Marc

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